During the first full weekend in August, I attended the annual Mid-Atlantic Fiction Writers Institute conference. This article reviews the last day of the event.
After a failed wake-up call from the front lobby, I grabbed a couple of strips of bacon from the hotel’s complimentary breakfast area. Fortunately I’d packed everything up the night before as the first event on the final day was scheduled early in the morning and we wouldn’t have a chance to get back to the hotel before checkout time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind
Although we missed the opening remarks from the MAFWI representative, each person in our group made it to their respective breakout sessions. I originally planned to attend the following breakout session:
Demons, Angels, Ghosts, and Monsters: The Fantastic World of Paranormal Fiction
The breakout session offered insight from three presenters, including:
I got as far as the front door of the building, turned around, and took a seat on the half-wall spanning the length of the sidewalk. The previous day’s conversation with Jim Rada kept coming back to me. In the next building over, he was leading a different breakout session:
Pirates, Gunfighters and Jack the Ripper: How to Write Historical Fiction
At the time I was on the cusp of finishing the final chapter of my book, HAUNTED WOMEN OF THE APPALACHIANS, a collection of 13 fictional short stories inspired by actual folklore. I soon made up my mind, and five minutes after the class started, I entered the historical fiction breakout session and took a seat in the back.
Over the next 90-ish minutes I learned so much. It answered questions like:
- What is a historical novel?
- Is historical fiction right for you?
- Is it history or historical fiction?
More importantly, I got to ask Jim Rada questions I had about my book. He offered some great advice that helped me get the final chapter into the hands of my editor before a final deadline that marked the beginning of her autumn sabbatical. I shudder to think what might have happened if I hadn’t attended this session.
Wrapping Up the End of a Great Weekend
After the morning breakout sessions, we congregated in the auditorium again for a panel discussion titled Marketing, Branding, and Social Media, Oh My! with:
- Tess Gerritsen
- Robert Bidinotto
- Merry Bond
- Harrison Demchick
- Leigh-Anne Lawrence
- Jim Rada
- JP Sloan
- Desiree Smith-Daughety
- Mark Stevanus
- Jason Tinney
Following the panel, we visited with authors, both the ones offering book signings and the ones just mingling around. Everyone in our group connected to new people, whether it was a presenter or another attendee.
And that wraps up my weekend at #MAFWI15. I loved every minute of it, and cannot wait to attend my next conference. Thanks to everyone who made this a fabulous weekend!
This is the final installment in a three-part series. If you missed the first two articles, then you can find them here: